Testosterone. For males, this is the magic hormone. As a young boy enters puberty, testosterone begins to flood his system. By his mid-teens, it is becoming a floodgate and keeps flowing throughout his twenties.
Why is testosterone so important?
Because it makes men MEN. From burning fat to building muscle, from having youthful energy to boosting your brainpower, from having the unbreakable willpower to exuding confidence, testosterone is the key.
Most men don't pay too much attention to testosterone when they are young. After all, why should they? It is so easy to take it for granted since the supply is seemingly endless.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature has other plans
That's correct. Beginning at approximately age thirty, men start to lose testosterone.
By most estimates, the decline of free testosterone in the blood levels drops off by around 10% per year. Do the math. By the time a man has reached eighty, he is lucky to have one-half of the testosterone levels that he did fifty years ago.
And the consequences aren't pretty
Weakened muscles…a steep drop in stamina and endurance…increasing aches and pains…brain fog…brittle bones…worn-out Glands…thinning, wrinkled skin…diminished sex life…it sounds like a parade from the depths of hell. And for many men, it is precisely that.
Also, the situation is made worse by so many well-meaning but totally misinformed "experts" and medical professionals who tell us that "it's natural for your age, deal with it," or "act your age," or some other such blathering. But the sad, tragic thing to grasp is this:
It doesn't have to be that way
You read that right. At times, Mother Nature has infinite wisdom, and we should just sit back and let her take charge.
However, there are other times when she needs to be both ignored and defied…and this is one of them. Restoring our testosterone to its youthful levels can make a difference in the quality of our lives…an incredible difference.
But how to go about it. Can we really "turn back the clock" with testosterone supplementation And, most important, is it safe
In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at these vitally important topics. We will first look at what testosterone is, and what you can begin to do immediately to preserve and at least slow down the loss of testosterone.
Next, we will cover the individual herbs and other natural ingredients that can play a crucial role in restoring your testosterone levels. Finally, we will look at the supplements on the market that can deliver these benefits to you…safely and efficiently.
What is testosterone
Testosterone is a male hormone that is produced by the testes and adrenal glands. As it is released into the bloodstream, it is metabolized by enzymes to become either dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or estradiol, a "female hormone."
When it moves throughout the body, it binds itself to specific target cells and has several effects: masculinization, anabolic (tissue building) and sexual arousal. As mentioned earlier, it is necessary for several critical functions in the male body.
As was also mentioned previously, the gland's production of testosterone drops off as men age…with dire consequences.
To prevent this, or to at least slow it down, here are some things you can do immediately. You can, of course, supplement testosterone without taking these steps.
However, the following actions will ensure that you receive maximum benefit from your testosterone boosters by "setting the table," and creating an internal environment in your body to get the most from your supplement program.
- Exercise. There is no question that any activity is better than none. But when looking to boost testosterone levels, nothing beats strength and resistance training. Push-ups, Pull-ups, and free squats are a good start. If you lift weights, stick with the primary, compound movements (bench press, rows, pull-downs, squats, leg press, overhead press, curls, incline press, etc.). For cardio, forget the long distance runs.
- Focus on sprints, since a short burst of energy releases growth hormone, a close cousin of testosterone. Alternate between an intense race for perhaps 30 seconds, then slow down for the same amount of time. Repeat this cycle for 10-15 minutes, then stop.
- Correct nutrition. Nothing fancy here, just common sense and a few basic principals. Eat lean protein at every meal, minimize refined, processed carbohydrates, load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, dramatically reduce sugar intake, read labels on canned and frozen foods and aim for low sugar and sodium content, eat foods that deliver zinc, such as eggs, chicken and turkey, beware of trans-fats, eat small, frequent meals, and stay adequately hydrated!
- Get adequate sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lower testosterone levels by up to 80%! During sleep, our pituitary glands secrete growth hormone, which signals the body to produce testosterone. Enough said. Make a conscientious effort to get more sleep.
- Control stress. We know that excessive stress is debilitating to the body. In addition to raising our blood pressure, increasing our risk of stroke and heart attack and attacking our immune system, stress destroys testosterone. It can't be eliminated, but it must be controlled. Meditation is excellent, and exercise helps as well.
- There is also a supplement called phosphatidylserine (PS) that is very effective in blocking the muscle-destroying hormone called cortisol. Every time we experience stress, due to a traffic jam, an argument, a temper explosion or a strenuous workout, our bodies are flooded with cortisol. Cortisol is released in response to other types of stress as well as intense exercise. Cortisol's primary purpose is to help you deal with extreme stress. It pours out in massive doses during the "fight-or-flight" response, as well as starvation and other severely stressful situation.
- Why does the body release this much cortisol? The answer goes back to our distant caveman ancestors. When cortisol floods the body in high amounts, the body stores precious body fat (which for cavemen was seen quite differently than today…it was often the fuel needed for survival). However, those situations were usually over quickly. Put simply; our bodies are not designed to deal with the continual cortisol bombardment caused by traffic jams, office politics, demanding spouses, etc. We need to keep our cortisol levels low, and that's why PS is worth its weight in gold…and will help keep your testosterone levels from continually diminishing.
- Minimize alcohol and use caution with prescription drugs. Alcohol consumed in excess can crater testosterone levels. And drugs of all kind (prescriptions and street) can produce the same effect. Proceed with caution.
Individual testosterone boosters
Here is a look at several different herbs and other natural substances that have been shown to increase testosterone levels. They can be taken individually, or combined in the formulas that will be looked at later.
- Tribulus Terrestris. Healers worldwide have used this herb for centuries to boost natural testosterone production. Study after study has shown that oral doses of Tribulus Terrestris can blast off a man's testosterone level quickly.
- Maca (Lepidium meyenii). Grown in the high Andean mountains of Peru, Maca is a root vegetable that is loaded with essential nutrients drawn from the mineral-rich soil of the high Andes. Maca's ability to promote strength, skyrocket libido, pump up energy levels and strengthen the immune system has long been known.
- DIM (diindolylmethane). This all-important supplement has been shown to lower estrogen, which is the "feminizing" hormone. It does this naturally, by helping to restore the testosterone/estrogen balance.
- Indole-3-Carbinol. This is a precursor to DIM, and although it may not be quite as useful as DIM when both are taken together, Indole-3-Carbinol works synergistically with its partner DIM to search for and destroy estrogen.
- Horny Goat Weed (Epimedium grandiflorum) This herb has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine. Horny Goat Weed frees testosterone which, in addition to building muscle tissue, also explodes stamina and increases sex drive.
- Zinc. There is a well-known, proven link between low levels of zinc and low testosterone levels. Zinc both increases testosterone production in the testes and prolongs the life of testosterone in the bloodstream. It also increases the sensitivity of testosterone receptors.
- Saw palmetto. Native Americans have long been aware of the benefits of this berry as a general tonic and sexual booster. Saw palmetto also fights the hormonal changes that occur in men over the age of fifty. These changes cause free testosterone to be converted into dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which results in prostate enlargement. Saw palmetto battles this on two fronts. First, it stops the conversion of testosterone into DHT. Second, it blocks any DHT from attaching to receptor sites on the prostate.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). The body produces DHEA naturally, and the adrenal glands secrete it into your system, where it can be converted into testosterone. Regrettably, as we age, our levels of DHEA begin to decline, just as with testosterone. Therefore, it's a simple formula: more DHEA = more testosterone. As an additional benefit, DHEA is also a proven and effective stress-buster.
- ZMA (zinc monomethionine aspartate). This is a mineral compound of zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B6 that work as a team to pump up testosterone levels.
- Fenugreek. In addition to increasing testosterone, Fenugreek also ramps up insulin release, which helps to build muscles after strenuous exercise.
This is by no means a complete, comprehensive list of natural testosterone boosters.
But it is a good start and will give you substances to look for when you begin your decision as to how to proceed in raising your testosterone levels by supplementation.
The top ten testosterone boosting supplements
These ten products have all received positive reviews by users. They may not give you the same results, so be prepared to try a few different products.
- Six Star Testosterone Booster. In addition to delivering a good supply of Tribulus, this product has an added benefit: It is convenient to buy since it is carried by Wal-Mart and several large drug store retailer chains (Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, etc.).
- Alpha JYM. When taken twice daily, Alpha JYM can deliver 4.2 grams of active, testosterone building ingredients.
- Diesel Test Hardcore. This is a great all-in-one option since it contains several powerful ingredients, including many of the ones listed above.
- Testo-Creme for MEN. If you would like to try a topical, rather than capsules or powder, this may be what you are looking for. Testo-Creme is applied twice daily and contains a wide array of testosterone-boosting herbs.
- Optimum Nutrition ZMA. ZMA was discussed earlier. This brand has the three main ingredients (Zinc, Magnesium Aspartate, and vitamin B-6).
- Anabolic Freak. This contains d-aspartic acid (DAA) as its main ingredient. The advantage is this: DAA seems to have the ability to promote testosterone production in an entirely different manner than usual. This product also can control cortisol and crush excess estrogen production in men
- Applied Nutriceuticals, RPM. In addition to giving a testosterone blast, this product also can increase your levels of Nitric Oxide. The result is insane pumps, exploding energy, and the ability to have total mental focus.
- Primaforce D-Aspartic Acid. Another way to ensure you reap the benefits of DAA…at a bargain price.
- Betancourt Nutrition Bullnox Androrush. Another tremendous pre-workout powder that is packed with several different herbs…many of them testosterone boosting
- BPI Sports A-HD. This product specializes in squashing estrogen, which results in a harder, leaner look
Thankfully, these products are easy to find. Just do a quick Google search.
These products are an excellent path to follow to boost your testosterone levels naturally, legally and safely.
Should I use testosterone boosters all the time?
While it may not be harmful to take testosterone boosters continuously, they are more effective when cycled. The reason is simple. As mentioned earlier, our ability to produce testosterone slows down as we age.
But it doesn't stop completely, nor do we want it to. By taking a break from the testosterone boosters, we give our glands reason to keep producing whatever amount of testosterone they can.
A good rule of thumb is to take the supplements for three weeks, then take a week off. However, this is not set in stone.
Remember, substances like prescription drugs and supplements do not affect everyone identically. Experiment, and make notes of how you feel and how your progress. Eventually, you will discover "the golden mean" or cycle length that is just right for you.
Hopefully, the ideas you have just finished reading will help you in making an informed decision about testosterone-boosting supplements.
If you're older, you already know the symptoms and consequences of "low-T," and, as mentioned, they are anything but pretty. If you are younger, the time to begin dealing with the loss of testosterone is before it starts happening.
And if you are older, you can begin TODAY to regain the energy that you felt years ago.
You may not feel that's important, that fatigue and aches and pains are an inevitable consequence of aging, and you're okay with that…and that's your right. But if you're NOT okay with that, please remember that you have options.
The lifestyle changes and supplements recommended here will get you going down the right path. Just remember to start small, take notes as to how you feel and what's working, and keep learning!
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